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OLIVER FLORENCE v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/28/80)

decided: April 28, 1980.

OLIVER FLORENCE, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Oliver Florence, No. B-172653.

COUNSEL

Michelle R. Terry, for petitioner.

Elsa D. Newman-Silverstine, Assistant Attorney General, with her, Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel and Edward G. Biester, Jr., Attorney General, for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish and Judges Craig and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 59]

Claimant Oliver Florence appeals from a decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review

[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 60]

(board), which affirmed a referee's finding that claimant was ineligible for benefits under Section 402(e), 43 P.S. ยง 802(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law,*fn1 because his discharge from Fair Acres Geriatric Center (employer) was precipitated by an act of willful misconduct.

Employer discharged claimant for threatening co-workers with bodily harm while brandishing a knife in front of them.

Before the referee, the employer produced two eyewitnesses who testified that they saw and heard claimant with a knife threaten to harm co-workers if they did not comply with claimant's demands. Claimant denied threatening his co-workers, and none of the alleged victims of his threats testified at the hearing. However, the referee resolved the conflicting testimony in favor of the employer, and found that claimant, with a knife, had threatened to harm co-workers.

Because three other fellow workers had testified from secondhand information concerning plaintiff's conduct, on appeal claimant contends that the referee's findings were based solely upon hearsay evidence and not suported by sufficient competent evidence in the record. We disagree.

Where the party with the burden of proving willful misconduct prevails before the referee, our scope of review is limited to whether there is sufficient competent evidence to support the findings of fact. Brooks v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 37 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 6, 388 A.2d ...


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